DA confident of PH’s stable fish supply in the coming months

DA confident of PH’s stable fish supply in the coming months
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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is optimistic that the country will have a stable fish supply in the coming months.

In a press conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa expressed confidence in the implementation of necessary regulations to address overfishing and ensure the protection of the country’s fish stocks.

“Maganda iyong projection natin, dahil ngayon March hanggang June ito ay open fishing season. Tinaon talaga ni Secretary Tui Laurel, iyong paglabas noong Memorandum Order (MO) No. 14 dito sa open fishing season para hindi maapektuhan iyong supply noong local,” he said.

(Our projection looks good because from March to June, it's the open fishing season. Secretary Tui Laurel really timed the release of Memorandum Order (MO) No. 14 during this open fishing season so that the supply of local [fish] won't be affected.)

“Iyong ipinagbawal sa MO 14 iyong round scad o galunggong, iyong bonito o tulingan, at saka iyong mackerel o alumahan. Pero, may exemption doon. Exempted iyong mackerel doon sa pagbabawal, basta iyong darating o iyong i-import nila ay papabase doon sa sales na naganap noong last year,” he added.

(MO 14 prohibited the round scad or galunggong, bonito or tulingan, and mackerel or alumahan. However, there's an exemption. Mackerel is exempted from the prohibition, as long as the arrivals or imports are based on the sales that occurred last year.)

Under Memorandum Order 14, starting April 16, the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for the three said pelagic species is suspended to prevent diversion to wet markets.

The DA said around 100,000 tons of galunggong, tulingan, and alumahan are finding their way to wet markets each year.

The order, however, allows “the importation of mackerel for canning purposes provided that the volume thereof shall be based on VATable sales of the canned products from the previous year with additional 10 percent of said sales for buffer.”

DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel said the implementation of MO 14 is “precisely timed to coincide with the start of the open fishing season.”

The DA implements a closed season for several months in major spawning areas to allow fish to repopulate and grow undisturbed, ensuring a bountiful supply.

De Mesa also attributed the stable fish supply in the past months to good fish catch after allowing some period of stock replenishment.

“Siguro epekto na rin noong maganda iyong huli natin dahil iyong…mas importante kasi na nakakapahinga iyong dagat, e (perhaps it's also the effect of our successful catch because... what's more important is that the sea gets to rest),” De Mesa said, noting as he commended the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for its policies protecting fish stocks.

“Kasi iyong isang isda nangingitlog iyan ng marami, e. Kahit 10 to 15 percent lang o one to five percent lang iyong mabuhay doon sa mga itlog na iyon, malaking bagay kasi milyon iyong iniitlog nila, e. So malaking bagay iyon para maka-recover iyong ating fishery,” he added.

(Because one fish can lay a lot of eggs. Even if only 10 to 15 percent, or one to five percent, survive from those eggs, it's still significant because they lay millions of eggs. So it's a big deal for our fishery to recover.)

Among the major fish sources in the Philippines include the country’s municipal waters, Sulu and Celebes Seas, and Visayan Sea. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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